The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Compact is an agreement among Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to “promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the seaboard of the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Compact is administered by a commission whose stated purpose is ” the conservation, development, and full utilization of the fishery resources of the Gulf of Mexico, to provide food, employment, income, and recreation to the people of these United States.”
The commission is comprised of representatives of each state who provide a forum for the discussion of different problems and programs of marine management, industry, and research and develop policy for consideration by the states’ legislatures and the United States Congress.
In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.
Captain Kidd’s treasure is reported to have been found off the coast of Madagascar. Kidd’s adventures inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his novel, Treasure Island. Can you keep treasure you find in the ocean?
The general rule is finders, keepers. However, the answer depends on several factors, including where the treasure is found and whether anyone else has a lawful claim to it.
For example, treasure found in United States federal territorial waters may be treated differently than treasure found in international waters. Similarly, if you find a modern Maersk ship under water, its “treasure” may be treated differently than if you find antiquated treasure in a 1620’s Spanish galleon whose owner is dead or unknown and unlikely to pop out of the woodwork.
Finding treasure isn’t all roses. Uncle Sam expects U.S. citizens to pay income tax on any such discovery. But that’s a price I’d be willing to pay.
In our In the News series, we use an article or topic that has been featured recently in the news as a potential learning opportunity.
Thanks to my friends and colleagues for this accolade.
D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Dallas” 2015 (Construction Law)
Profile available here.